NEW YORK CITY - Attorneys for Daniel Penny, the 24-year-old Marine veteran charged with second-degree manslaughter in the New York City subway death of Jordan Neely, maintained their client's innocence after he turned himself in Friday morning at the NYPD’s 5th Precinct.
"He’s dealing with the situation, like I said, with the sort of integrity and honor that is a characteristic of who he is, a characteristic of his honorable service in the United States Marine Corps," said Thomas Kenniff, who represents Penny.
The Long Island man walked out in handcuffs, just over two hours later, and was arraigned at the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. He was released on $100,000 cash bail.
A crowdfunded defense fund for Penny has raised millions of dollars. His lawyers launched it last week, explaining that most proceeds will cover legal fees and any extra money will be donated to a mental health advocacy program in New York City.
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Penny’s defense team argues he was defending himself, and others, when he put Neely in a fatal chokehold two weeks ago on a northbound ‘F’ train.
The controversial incident sparked outrage and heightened political divisiveness across the city.
Neely, a former Michael Jackson impersonator who had a history of mental health issues, homelessness, and a criminal record with more than 40 arrests, was reportedly behaving erratically and threatening other passengers before Penny stepped in.
The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Neely’s death a homicide, prompting the Manhattan District Attorney to investigate until senior prosecutors determined there was probable cause to arrest Penny.
"Should Daniel Penny be charged with manslaughter? Absolutely, because he acted with indifference," Donte Mills, Neely’s family attorney argued.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up to pay for the costs of Neely’s funeral, which will take place later this week.